Wednesday, September 7, 2016

8 Easy Ways to Cut Your Monthly Expenses


The key to cutting expenses out of your budget is to do it in a way that is feasible. As we all know how hard it is to save money and cut back because it's so important to be able to save for an emergency fund and live debt free. 

The scariest thing for me in March when I lost my job unexpectedly and had no savings. I was left with just one paycheck and enough to cover my rent. I told myself that would be the last time that would ever happen. Reality hit hard, I was able to find a job within 6 weeks, but faced with making $450.00 less a month and expenses still going up.

It’s not always that hard to save money; it’s just a whole lot easier not to save it.” We CAN menu plan, or coupon, or engage in one of a dozen other ways to cut expenses but it’s easier not to do those things, particularly when we’re busy. This brings me back to making cuts that are feasible.

The first step to finding these reasonable cuts to your expenses is knowing what your expenses actually are.  I reread  Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" book, starting using Everyday Dollar. A online budget tool that is free and helps me to track and be accountable for every single dollar that comes in.  

I started following the budget I kept in Everyday Dollar. Which allows me to easily track  every single thing I spend on, whether it’s going to Tim Horton's for a quick cup of Coffee or going to Target. Everything. Each month it has helped me see ways, I can try and save more and prioritize really things like how many trips I needed to Target each week. 

Here are some ways I wanted to share with you that might be helpful to cutting a little more from your budget every month.

Around the house

1. Cut the cable. Thanks to streaming services like Amazon's Prime Video and you can get rid of your cable package and still have a variety of programs and movies available for viewing. Even your household news junkie can stay up to date with local channels streaming much of their content online.

2. Unplug. No, I’m not referring to turning off your phone (although, that’s by no means a bad idea sometimes!) I’m referring to literally unplugging appliances that you don’t use. Go to countries where electricity is expensive (Great Britain, for example). You’ll notice that the coffee machine, kettle etc, are always unplugged when not in use because plugged in, they’re still an energy and money drain.

3. Cold water wash. This is another energy and money drain that can save some money but also save some energy. Just be sure to use the cold-water detergent: it really makes a difference to the quality of your wash (particularly, if you bought it on sale. Just saying…)

Entertainment and fun

4. Takeout. Convenient it might be; cheap it is often not. Invest some time and effort in meal planning and cut your takeout and restaurant meals down. And if you’re like a friend of mine who rates cooking up there with a root canal, there are dozens of services that will deliver everything you need to make an easy home cooked meal, at half the price of takeout. Healthier for you; healthier for your wallet!

5. Movies. Going to the movies these days, especially with kids, is an expensive proposition. Take advantage of Saturday Family specials at the theatres. Better yet, rent the latest flick from Google Play and stream it on your television. A little homemade buttery popcorn, a little juice (grape for the kids; fermented grape for you!) and you’ve got the makings for a comfy at-home movie night that won’t break the bank.

6. Outings. There are discount codes and coupons everywhere for just about everything you and your family might want to do. And if you are the kind of family that visits a certain place—the zoo, for example—more than twice a year, look into a family membership. These can often save you a lot on entry fees, parking and offers discounts on shopping and dining.

Clothes 

7. Recycle clothes. For me, it’s hard to find clothes that I like or would wear in a used clothing shop, but for the kids? There are shops everywhere, even online, where you can get the summer shorts or back to school shirts that you’ll need, at a fraction of retail.

8. Cell strategy. Monitor your data and text usage as well as your family’s for a month or two and then see if you can do better with a family plan or other package. While we’re talking about phones, if everyone has a cell at your house, it’s time to get rid of the extras on your home phones, like call waiting.

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